DE, BAKER COUN TY
BAKER COUNTY SENIOR DEFENSIVE end CeCe Jefferson met Alabama Coach Nick Saban recently, and somebody came away from the en-
counter surprised and intrigued. Hint: It wasn’t
the high school kid.
“We had a normal conversation, but I think
he’s used to people meeting him and saying,
‘Oh, my God, it’s Nick Saban!’” Jefferson said of
the coach who has won four national champion-
ships. “He’s a great coach. But he’s a guy like
That’s unusual perspective for an 18-year-
old, but Jefferson is, by all accounts, extremely
mature and articulate for his age. He has a 3.0
GPA and aspires to become a coach after his
playing days are over.
Last season, Jefferson led Baker County to
a 7-3 record in Class 5A, producing 17 sacks,
two forced fumbles and 56 tackles, including
an impressive 31 of them for losses.
He also got his first career interception and
returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
“I was playing outside linebacker and I had
to cover the flat,” said Jefferson, who is 6-foot-
2 ½ and 260 pounds and runs a 4. 7 in the 40.
“Fortunately, the quarterback didn’t see me. I
went up and snagged the ball and took it to
Baker County has a new coach in Tom
MacPherson, who ran the program at Orange
Park’s Ridgeview the past 15 years.
MacPherson has installed a 4-2-5 defense
“He has one of the best get-offs I have ever
that, with an extra defensive back in the
formation, is built around speed. An equally
key element for MacPherson will be unleashing
Jefferson on quarterbacks and running backs.
seen,” MacPherson said of Jefferson’s first
steps at the line of scrimmage. “He’s explosive
MacPherson said Jefferson will line up on
either side of the defense, and that uncertainty
must terrorize quarterbacks even more.
If you want to imagine what it’s like for a high
school lineman trying to block Jefferson, consider what NFL tackles thought about Dwight
Freeney during his days with the Colts. That’s
the comparison MacPherson makes.
“CeCe doesn’t get run at a lot,” said MacPherson, who watched film of Jefferson’s games
from last season. “Teams tend to run away from
him, which is a mistake because he is phenomenal at chasing you down on the other side.
“That’s what makes him the No. 9 player in
Indeed, Jefferson is a five-star recruit with
dozens of elite college football programs offering
him scholarships. But, just like when Saban came
down to visit him, Jefferson is playing it cool.
“I’m open to anybody,” Jefferson said. “I want
to consider what every school has to offer and
then, on National Signing Day, let everything fall
QB/WR, TAMPA BAY TECH
IT WAS JUST A SEVEN-ON-SEVEN SUM- mer game, but the catch Tampa Bay Tech quarterback Deon Cain made indicates why big-time college coaches want him at
Cain, a 6-foot- 2, 190-pound senior with 4. 4
speed, ran a fly pattern on the game’s final play.
The cornerback grabbed the right hand of Cain,
who simply stuck his left hand up and clutched
the ball just before he went out of bounds in the
end zone for the winning score.
“At the next level, he’s a wide receiver all
day,” Tampa Bay Tech Coach Jayson Roberts
said. “A lot of college coaches say he reminds
them of [NFL receiver] A.J. Green.”
Roberts said Cain could be a “good” college
quarterback if he dedicated himself to that
position. But Roberts said Cain can be “elite”
“As a receiver, he is something special,”
“I feel great about it,” Cain said when asked
Roberts said. “I’ve never seen a kid so natural
catching the ball, and he does it so effortlessly.”
Cain, who can reportedly throw the ball nearly
70 yards, said he is considering scholarship offers
from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Ala-
bama, Tennessee, Ohio State and Central Florida.
about the prospect of playing receiver in college.
But will he miss playing quarterback?
After all, he has started at QB since his fresh-
man year. Last season, he led his team to a
6-4 record, throwing for 1,800 yards and 14
touchdowns with six interceptions.
“I won’t really miss quarterback, because the
Coach Roberts said Cain has never missed a
teams that are interested in me all have wildcat
packages for me to run,” Cain said. “Those
schools see both of my talents.”
Cain, who has a 2. 7 GPA, is interested in
studying marketing or business management.
Time permitting, he’d like to play basketball as
a wing guard and track as a sprinter and long
jumper during his final year at Tampa Bay Tech.
game due to injury and is destined for stardom
“He’s a yes-sir, no-sir kid,” Roberts said. “He
always has a smile on his face – you never have
to worry about Deon.”
BY WALTER VILLA